ALGERIA: 3 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
November 19, 2013: Three Algerians accused of abducting and killing a young man one year ago in the Kabylie region have been handed the death penalty, Algerian media reported.
A fourth defendant, accused of demanding a ransom with threats, was jailed for three years and fined, the national APS news agency reported.
Defence lawyers had asked the court in Tizi Ouzou, the main city in Kabylie, to reclassify the charges as "assault leading to death," but the judge refused, according to Algerian daily El Watan.
The court instead convicted the three suspects of pre-meditated murder, kidnapping for ransom and hiding the body of the victim, which was found several days after he was abducted.
They were given the death penalty, which is still on Algeria's statute books, although no execution has been carried out since 1993.
A clear motive for the killing was not established.
Ghilas Hadjou, 19, the son of a businessman in the costal town of Azeffoune, was kidnapped on October 18 last year.
He was lured to the house of one of the three murder suspects, then under construction, where he was severely beaten and strangled, according to the police.
After killing Hadjou, they telephoned the fourth defendant and asked him to call the victim's father and demand the payment of a 50 million dinar (4.6 million euro) ransom to secure his son's release.
The day after Hadjou's body was found buried on the beach in Azeffoune, the suspects, who all knew the victim, were arrested. (Sources: AFP, 19/11/2013)